Today we decided to go somewhere we hadn't visited for a long while – Lady clough (below Kinder Scout). We parked up at Birchen clough, where I started one of the hardest walks in the book when I first started walking. The walk was called ‘around Bleaklow’, and was written by John Merrill. It was about 24 miles long, and across mostly open moorland. The path from this car park to begin that walk went straight up, VERY steeply.
Mercifully, today we were taking a different path. We crossed the Snake road, notorious for always being one of the first to be closed when the snows come, and dropped into Lady Clough woods.
This place is peace personified. Apart from the odd vehicle noise above us, it was quiet. A lot of sound is absorbed by the trees and carpet of needles on the ground.
Every now and then, there was a clearing which was greened up fully, at this time of the year. It was drizzling steadily, but the canopy of firs protected us.
Lady Clough river.
Where we parked up, we could see and hear forest workers. It was obviously time to harvest the trees in the area, and they were going about their task with devastating results! We could smell the tang of wood sap in the air, and kept seeing these swathes of cleared woodland. The terrain looked VERY steep and unforgiving, but the machines were designed for it, and took it in their stride as they decimated the forest.
But here by the river – peace.
We left the woodland and walked in the open air by the river. The rain was really light now, and although we had waterproof coats on, we didn’t need to wear the trousers.
Above us, traffic hummed on the snake pass. One feature of this part of the walk was the various parts of cars we saw in the bottom here. It was obvious that several vehicles had left the road and tumbled down to the river. You’d think that people would drive accordingly on this road. I mean, the name ‘snake’ sort of TELLS you it’s going to be twisty.
They play with the snake at their peril!
Looking back along the snake pass. You can see how it would succumb quite quickly to bad weather conditions.
A nightmare to navigate.
Doctor’s gate, where the Pennine way crosses the Snake pass. Today, it was a very murky and damp vista.
7,000 years old!
In latter years, the Pennine way has had to be paved, due to bad erosion of the peat. There were many against this move, but I think there was really no choice. Walking, as a hobby, was exploding, and many, many feet were taking to the moors. Looking at it now, I think it blends in well. The slabs are the countless bits of old mill floors. I never realised that there were quite so MANY old mills!
The path across the lovely-named ‘featherbed moss’ (of which there are many in the Dark peak area).
This was the sort of terrain you would have faced before the paving.
Before long, we reached a crossing of paths at Mill hill. We could see an unforbidding-looking Southern edge of Kinder Scout. Seeing it like this, I was glad we weren't going up there today.
We followed the path towards it, then took a sharp left to go down the Snake path and Ashop clough.
Oh look – enough blue sky to make a sailor a pair of trousers!
We could see Kinder reservoir to our right (but only just).
Three fingers of rock jut on the western edge of Kinder.
The bracken was galloping on and unfurling as quick as it could.
Soon, the landscape would be green with it’s fractal fronds
We sat in the shelter of an old ruin for lunch. Sue was amazed when she spotted this little eight-wheeled vehicle coming down a track opposite us.
Now I would NOT fancy a ride in that on the precarious path they were coming down.
Our abode for lunch.
We walked further down Ashop clough, and could see the forest was ahead once more.
GOT to wear shorts – it’s SUMMER (they tell me).
Again, masses of felled trees here.
I tried to count to rings on one of the logs, and would ‘guesstimate’ they were between 40 and 50 years old.
Waterfalls in Ashop clough. This was a really pleasant spot and I wished I’d waited for lunch now, having seen it.
The last bridge before we climbed back up to the car.
Not a prefect day for pictures, but we really enjoyed ourselves, as it was the first walk for three weeks.